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Thread: R12RT "dual sport trip"

  1. #1
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    R12RT "dual sport trip"

    I’m planning road trip from Boston to Chisasibi Quebec via the James Bay Rd. Then off to Halifax NS to see my daughter. Yes it’s a roundabout way to go but just might be fun.
    Here is the curveball – I would love to fish at Lac Manicouagan, off route 389 in Quebec, just because it is a monstrous impact crater. I hear that from the town of Baie Comeau to Manic 5 the road is paved but the last 75k to Lac Manicouagan is gravel. I did not know if there was a tire with an aggressive tread that would handle the gravel.
    Thanks, Paul

  2. #2
    Registered User brianm's Avatar
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    I think you'll be fine if it is graded dirt with some small pea gravel. I have done that on my RT many times. However, if the road is truly all gravel you may have a problem. (mostly with your paint if you go down). Also I don't think your front fender will clear any kind of off road tire. May be a good excuse to get a GS
    Sounds like a fun trip though.
    '05 R1200RT
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  3. #3
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    A great tip;

    I am a life long dirt rider, so even with your RT this will apply well! IF the gravel road gets sloppy or even slightly loose, LET air out of the tires to about 20lbs. Experiment with the prssure for your needs, as this WILL make the bike feel a lot better on loose surfaces. Most dirt riders stand too, but this is not a probable option on an RT, but more weight on the feet will lower your center of gravity and this helps tremendously too, especially the looser stuff. At slow speeds the bike will want to plow the gravel if its loosey goosey kind a stuff and a faster speed on a GS with standing is the ticket. Your RT is probably going to keep you fairly slow and sitting, so pick your lines well, if it gets snarly. Remember to be loose in the arms, not a death grip on the bars, as the bike can oscilate quite a bit on gravel and this is normal. AND, if all fails and you do find yourself in a fall, God forbid, keep your feet from the trap of twin cylinders that will break your ankle or foot if caught underneath! In other words, pick your feet UP. This saves many feet. Happy Trails, Randy

  4. #4
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    I have driven all over North America in a cage. Longest bike trip has been 750 miles. This road trip is about 3.5K, so I am very open for advice.
    Thanks!!!
    Paul
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  5. #5
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Look at the Dunlop 616 and the Avon Distanza. There are folks up here that I have seen running the 616 on R1200s and say they are about as good on dirt/gravel as 90/10 DS tires such as Tourances. Don't know anyone running the Avons, but they look fairly aggressive too.

    Every year I see a few RTs heading up the Dalton to Prudhoe Bay with regular street tires. So far they've all made it with out loss of life, limb or eye sight.

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  6. #6
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    So you're only talking about 40 miles or so, or 80 round trip. I've done that on the RT with Metz Z6s, no problems. It's not ideal, but no way for a short ride like that would I change tires. Here's my tips:

    1) pick the speed that feels right. You'll go faster as you get more comfortable. If you have some similar roads around, try some to practice.

    2) If you have to make a U turn, point up hill if there is one. If you point down hill in the gravel, you'll never be able to push it backwards if needed with your own muscle power in gravel.

    3) Loose grip, don't fight, the bike will drift.

    4) Suspension travel is the key--the RT will bottom out. Keep the ESA on comfort, or if you have manual, use very low damping so the shocks are loose and rubbery. Beware of pot holes. The RT wheels are soft and you can easily bend the wheels. Go slowly over wash board and pot holes, look ahead and pick and plan your line. I like the idea of reducing tire pressure. I've not done that, but it makes a lot of sense.

    If you are not alone, go second. If you go through a puddle that is very soft and deep, let the other guy find out first so you can avoid it!

    5) Stand on the pegs as needed.

    6) Light touch on the brakes. Use the rear brake only. If you lock up the front, you fall. Even ABS can have a hard time reacting quickly enough on dirt.

    I've gone through gravel about 6 inches deep. It's a pain, but I made it. Dirt with loose gravel is no problem. In fact, you get so comfortable you tend to go too fast and then suddenly get in trouble when conditions change.

    Good luck, report back!
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  7. #7
    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    Try and take an MSF Dirt Bike Class prior to your trip.

    The trip looks fun !
    If one cannot command attention by one's admirable qualities one can at least be a nuisance

  8. #8
    palica
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    I have done this trip with my Ural (James Bay in 2010 and Labrador in 2009).

    From Manic 5 on your way to Gagnon, if it is not raining, you should be OK for such a short distance. If it is raining, then you may have a problem: road surface becomes very "greasy" and can be challenging for no-knobby tires... Considering the short distance, I would check weather forecast and go for it, with stock tires or dual like Distanzia or same kind.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all your advice!
    Lac Manicouagan was just a side thought, a maybe - if I had the time. I think now it is a definite.
    IÔÇÖm self-employed, so taking more than a week off is like going through withdrawal, this is going to such a hoot.

  10. #10
    BugCollector
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    Be sure to post about your adventure when you get back and pictures, if possible would be welcome.

    Have fun!

  11. #11
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    I think that the new P3 with low air will get me through the dirt. Not that the tread is aggressive but all the snipes will help keep the rubber down.

  12. #12
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    I took my R850RT to Morrocco and went over some dirt/gravel roads:


    I fitted a Continental Trail Attack on the rear (I do have an 17" rear, I don't know if the TA comes in 18") because allroad tyres are supposed to be a bit stiffer. The deeper profile also helps in wet conditions.

    I managed pretty good on the RT, considering the weight of the bike. Speed is the key. Keep your speed at a decent level; it keeps the bike more stable. When you go too slow, the bike becomes unstable and you're more likely to fall. Check out Ewan McCregor in Long Way Round; he was not used to offroad riding and fell a lot because he was going too slow. His mate Boorman had more speed and not so much trouble falling down.
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

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